The 2022 College Football National Championship game will be a big night for SEC fans.
It could also be a big night for NFTs (non-fungible tokens), thanks to a group of former UGA Bulldog standouts.
Ty Frix, Keith Marshall, and Aaron Murray, all former UGA football players, have teamed up once again to create The Players’ Lounge, a new digital space startup that helps college fans connect with specific sports communities while helping athletes find more opportunities to monetize their name, image, and likeness (NIL) under new NCAA rules.
Running back Keith Marshall, who is now an MBA student at Emory, told Hypepotamus that the mission of The Players’ Lounge is to “redefine the fan experience” as we move into Web 3.0.
“NFT’s are definitely an abstract concept that is new to many people. Rather than dive into the depths of blockchain, NFT’s, and how they work, we’ve been focusing on the functional aspect of what our NFT will provide for the buyers who hold them,” added Marshall. “Think of our NFT as a key to unlock access to a community that will house exclusive content and experiences. Very similar to how many sports fans pay monthly/yearly subscriptions to access private media outlets and message boards.”
The Players’ Lounge will focus first on a limited NFT collection of Digitally Generated Dogs (DGDs), created by artist Seth McWhorter.
A DGD NFT will grant access to exclusive message boards, monthly podcasts with former & current players, in-season weekly film reviews by former players, tailgates, and other UGA memorabilia.
Importantly, the NFTs will go to support current student-athletes like quarterback Stetson Bennett, Nakobe Dean, Brock Bowers, and Zamir White.
50% of profits from DGD Mafia NFT drop will go to partnering players.
“The guys we had a chance to partner with were all very excited about the opportunity and I think its great that they’re able to monetize all the hard work they’ve put in. Part of what we want to do is develop the infrastructure necessary to provide recurring NIL opportunities for these athletes,” said Marshall.
While UGA hasn’t won a National Championship since 1980 (rival Alabama won in 2020), Marshall said he and his former teammates are ready for tonight’s rematch with the Crimson Tide.
“I feel good about the game. I think the boys will look completely different than they did the first go around. I have the dawgs winning but obviously, I’m biased. Hopefully, the 8th time is the charm!”
The Players’ Lounge is part of a growing list of Southeast-based ventures focused on the NFT space. It is also in good company as it looks to build a sports-focused startup in the region. Others include Press Sports and PlayOn! Sports, both located in Atlanta.